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Billy Ray Cyrus’ stadium tour stops in the Springs at Weidner Field


High-profile hitmaker Billy Ray Cyrus brings his stadium tour to town on Friday at Weidner Field, home of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks soccer franchise.
  • High-profile hitmaker Billy Ray Cyrus brings his stadium tour to town on Friday at Weidner Field, home of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks soccer franchise.

I hope all you avid flag-wavers didn’t sprain your wrists with over-strenuous Flag Day efforts a few weeks back, because with the long July Fourth weekend upon us, it’s now truly your chance to shine. Of course, there’s plenty of music to take in over the weekend, too.

It’s hard to beat the classic Memorial Park fireworks show, and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will supply the soundtrack to the annual staple with their July 4 Summer Symphony. The program finds featured vocalist Linda Purl performing with the Philharmonic, and attendees will also enjoy a set by the U.S. Air Force Academy Band’s country ensemble, Wild Blue Country

Possibly the biggest name on the marquees for the Independence Day weekend is long-running pop-country hitmaker Billy Ray Cyrus, who performs at Weidner Field on Friday, July 5. 

Cyrus, in many respects, embodies the double-edged sword represented by widespread commercial success and the cyclical nature of pop celebrity.

Following the ubiquitous presence fostered by his inescapable 1992 single “Achy Breaky Heart,” Cyrus kept steadily releasing material, but spent the better portion of a decade being mostly recognized as Miley Cyrus’ dad, and all the flippancy that entailed. (Never mind, apparently, his pitch-perfect cameo in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive!) His profile, of course, has recently risen dramatically with a guest appearance on another chart-smashing single and pop culture moment of note — the remix of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” Cyrus also recently dropped his 16th studio LP, The SnakeDoctor Circus, which finds him dabbling in some curiously freewheeling ’60s folk-rock-inspired material. It’s certainly an intriguing career moment for Cyrus, and his local stadium stop (where the Switchbacks play) probably couldn’t have come at a more advantageous moment.

On the punk side of things, The Sleights have you completely covered with not only a show, but a pre-arranged barbecue for the occasion. On July 5, the local punk standouts will take over the Black Sheep for the all-ages Punk Rock Weenie Roast, where you can chow down on all the hot dogs (or veggie dogs) you could possibly desire. If you haven’t caught The Sleights live lately or picked up their latest LP, Something Wasted This Way Comes ... well, first of all, what’s wrong with you? This show gives you the opportunity to do just that, as well as catch an appearance from Minneapolis-based act The Right Here, who play punk rock with a pleasantly rootsy edge. In May 2018, The Right Here released Another Round, a terrific collection of rarities and acoustic tracks that features some delightfully ramshackle takes on the Stones’ “Dead Flowers” and Bowie’s “Modern Love.”

Finally, for the Americana-minded (and what better weekend for being Americana-minded?), you’d be hard-pressed to beat the Gold Room’s double-bill of Possessed by Paul James and Mike Clark and the Sugar Sounds on Saturday, July 6.

Locals should be well-versed in the formidable talents of multi-instrumentalist Mike Clark by this point, given his contributions to The Haunted Windchimes and The River Arkansas. Live appearances from his soul-infused Sugar Sounds project have been infrequent, so that should already be enough reason to coax out potential attendees. 

However, one should also definitely not miss the stylings of one-man-band Konrad Wert, better known as Possessed by Paul James, a multi-instrumentalist whose take on folk and alt-country often rides the line between transcendental and feral. Since the Florida-born Wert’s introduction of the “Possessed...” moniker in 2005, the singer-songwriter has earned great acclaim from various media outlets, with No Depression hailing him in 2010 as “undoubtedly” one of the most important contemporary singer-songwriters. As a testament to the caliber of his writing and performance, Wert has shared stages with a bevy of legendary performers such as Wanda Jackson, Ralph Stanley and T Model Ford. His 2013 LP, There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely, hit No. 12 on Billboard’s Country and Bluegrass Charts.

Aside from his busy musical schedule, Wert is also an award-winning special education teacher, and the intersection of his musical and educational pursuits is the focus of the upcoming documentary, When It Breaks.

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